kohlrabi-lentil curry & tandoori grilled chicken

A summer Indian feast.

kohlrabi & lentil curry with tandoori grilled chicken

Recently I started working on a small-scale organic farm (and am gaining a whole new appreciation for the hard work that goes into growing our organic food!) along with selling the fruits and veg of our labor at local markets. Although quite the exhausting and dirty workday, it’s great to be reunited with the outdoors during my favorite time of year (bring on the summer heat and tomatoes!) and to bring home some fresh-from-the-earth vegetables to throw on the grill.

We tend to have a good variety of unique vegetables that people are not as familiar with, like garlic scapes, caraflex cabbage, and the star of today – kohlrabi. Puzzled customers examine these alien-looking crops and ask “What is this? What do I do with it? Have you cooked with it?” And of course, I need to be able to answer! Never having tried kholrabi myself did not make it the easiest to explain to intrigued customers at my last market. So I brought some home, told my boyfriend to get excited for an Indian feast (our favorite when cooking a big scrumptious dinner) and decided to create a curry featuring this lovely, seasonal kholrabi.

Kohlrabi, I learned, translates from German as ‘cabbage-turnip’. To me it tastes very much like a broccoli stem when cooked, but eaten raw it is mildly sweet and crisp almost like a jicama. I imagine it would be delicious sliced up thin into slaw. But right now this curry — filled with chickpeas, lentils, butternut and lots of warm spices — has won my heart.

Forrest is a pro at the whole grilling thing, so he was in charge of that part of the meal. Not that I was surprised, but his tandoori chicken was awesome. Like only-marinated-for-10-minutes-yet-unbelievably-flavorful, crispy-on-the-outside-juicy-tender-on-the-inside …awesome. Mucho props to him.

And all together — doused in fresh cilantro and a dollop of yogurt on the side — this made one healthy, satisfying Indian feast, perfect to enjoy on the patio alongside a summer sunset. Continue reading

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cozy wintertime stew

hearty chicken, butternut + quinoa stew

It’s important at this time of year, to maintain a balance between Christmas cookies and healthy, wholesome meals. Because as long as we take full advantage of winter’s nutritious harvest at meal times, no one need turn down a scrumptious holiday cookie (or two, or three..)

We’ve had our fill of both at my house—perhaps leaning towards the indulgent side—but leafy greens and bright orange squash are still part of our everyday diet. I had this recipe for chicken stew with butternut and quinoa marked for a long time, and like most recipes I finally get around to making I think, why did I wait so long?!

hearty chicken, butternut squash + quinoa stew

This is definitely a keeper in my recipe book, as it’s everything I love in a wintertime meal. Hearty, healthy, balanced, wholesome, cozy, savory, sweet, filling, and lick-the-bowl GOOD!

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash + Quinoa, adapted from Cookin’ Canuck

  • 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded + chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • couple handfuls kale, roughly chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley Continue reading

the bowl.

I think at least 80% of the meals I make for myself end up piled into a bowl. I like it that way – the different flavors and textures blend together in each bite, and the combinations of veggies, grains, proteins, herbs, sauces and spices are endless…

I’m also often cooking for one, so it’s a convenient way to control my portions and season it just the way I like it. Then I take a big spoon, collapse on my comfy couch, and savor every bite :)

My creations typically involve some kind of grain (quinoa, polenta, or brown rice), steamed or sautéed greens, sautéed or roasted seasonal veggies, and either beans, eggs, lentils, tofu, veggie sausage or chicken. Then comes the endless flavor combinations concocted of herbs, cheeses, spices, and sauces, which I change up every time. The bowl concept is great because I always end up with a well-balanced meal, and it makes for easy eating whether at home, on the go, or leftover for tomorrow’s lunch!

I wanted to share a few of my favorite quinoa bowls as of late: Continue reading

stir fried quinoa with chicken + veggies

Mm mmm…I almost never order Chinese takeout, but some days I just get that craving for chicken and rice drenched in salty, sweet n’ sticky “brown sauce,” or so they call it. So flavorful, so full of MSG. Oh so unfortunate.

The top reason I’d say I cook for myself is so I know exactly what goes into my food. No MSG hiding in this kitchen. Fortunately it’s very simple to make your own Chinese-style fried rice,  and after I saw this variation made with couscous I thought why not use my favorite (and super nutritious) grain: quinoa!

Rather than keeping the numerous ingredients to make Asian-style sauces and marinades, I recently found a store-bought version that I love and is versatile enough to be used for any purpose! Salad dressing, marinade, veggie dip, sauce for rice—pretty much anything you want to have that delicious soy-sesame-garlic-ginger flavor. The brand is called Soy Vay, and I buy either the Veri Veri teriyaki or Island Teriyaki. Both consist of soy sauce, sugar, pineapple juice (in the Island Teriyaki), sesame seeds, fresh garlic + ginger, dried onion, and soy + sesame oils. Basically what I would put in my own marinade if I made it. No preservatives or hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Awesome.

The teriyaki works perfectly as a marinade for the chicken in this dish, as well as a drizzled topping for some extra flavor and moisture.

stir fried quinoa with chicken + veggies, inspired by this

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten with salt + pepper
  • 1-2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa (preferably leftovers)
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2/3 cup broccoli slaw (this is an estimate – use however much you want)
  • ½ cup broccoli florets
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 t minced fresh ginger
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • teriyaki sauce, for marinating and serving

Chop chicken breasts into small pieces and marinate in teriyaki sauce for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Add beaten eggs and stir with a spatula until scrambled, fluffy and cooked through. Remove to a small plate.

Add 1 T sesame oil to skillet, increase heat to medium-high and add chicken. Let cook for a couple minutes and turn over several times until almost cooked through. Add ginger, scallion whites and broccoli to skillet, sautéing until slightly softened and fragrant. Add broccoli slaw and cooked quinoa, 2 T soy sauce and sauté until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in scrambled eggs, top with scallion greens and serve drizzled with more teriyaki or soy sauce.

Enjoy! –mich

My curried chicken salad

As someone who is very careful not to waste (any) food that I buy, I like to keep canned chicken or salmon in my pantry. That way I can use it when the craving arises and not get anxious about it going bad. Thus, chicken salad is a practical meal to make and last for several lunches of the week. It’s versatile and can be enjoyed on whole wheat sandwiches, mixed green salads, on flatbread crackers, lettuce wraps, or straight out of the bowl.

I have come up with my perfected chicken salad, — a mixture of fruity, cool and spicy flavors. Crisp apples, chewy dried apricots, crisp onion and celery, creamy tart yogurt, and warm curry and garam masala. I ate mine for lunch in big lettuce leaf wraps, making for a light and refreshing midday meal.

Fruity curried chicken salad

1 12.5-oz can white chunk chicken (I found Costco’s Kirkland brand to be the best- with big solid chunks of white meat)

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 t spicy mustard

½ t curry powder

¼ t garam masala

½ apple, chopped

¼ cup onion, chopped

¼ cup celery, chopped

¼ cup chopped dried apricots or golden raisins

Salt + pepper to taste

These measurements are all estimations; I’m not sure of the exact proportions I used. Just throw everything together in a bowl, adding more of what you like, different fruits or veggies, more spice, less spice, whatever tastes good! Make it your own. Stir together with a fork, season with salt and pepper and enjoy.